Happily Murdered by Rasleen Syal is a murder mystery set in the cool locales of Ratnagiri in the Himalayan foothills. A self-confessed disciple of Agatha Christie, the author has followed the AC template in creating a murder mystery, adapting it masterfully to Indian settings.
Gulab Sarin is found dead on the night of her marriage in the pavilion of her in-laws’ (the Mehtas) palatial estate in Ratnagiri. At the time of the murder, there were six maids and servants who did not have any motivation for the murder. But there were nine relatives in the house and most of them have a motivation. Who committed the murder?
A whodunit in the style of a parallel narrative – one exploring the murder and the other in the voice of the victim relating her story – the book explores human weaknesses in the background of a murder.
The main characters belong to either the Mehta family or the Dulla family.
- The grand old lady of the Mehta family, 86-year old Biji.
- Biji’s son KD Mehta
- Biji’s daughter-in-law Tina Mehta
- KD and Tina’s eldest son Vikram
- Vikram’s wife Monica (who is a Dulla by birth)
- KD’s second son and Gulab’s newly-wed husband Siddharth
- KD’s last son Yuvaraj
- Monica’s younger brother Ned Dulla
- Ned’s twin sister Sara Dulla.
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- With a masterfully crafted plot, the author drives away all apprehensions of this book turning out to be a poor cousin of an Agatha Christie work.
- The meticulousness with which the details are arranged. Some casual hints thrown at various points in the course of the story are all neatly tied at the end. One of my maxims is “God is in the details”. I particularly like works where there is attention to details. In this respect, the incidents and the story score high.
- The parallel narrative helps in gradually revealing details from two different perspectives and building up the suspense for the climax.
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- There is some attention to details required in the editing. Typological mistakes were scattered across the book.
Crime thriller à la Agatha Christie.
The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve.